NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Patrick Scott Patterson’s living room is a virtual video-game historic timeline. A Donkey Kong arcade cabinet hugs the wall. A poster for Call of Duty sits above it. Nintendo cartridges are stacked alongside Xbox discs on the shelf. Patterson has lived in the video game world for 30 years, so he wasn’t really surprised Friday to find the finger pointed back at it for the current state of violence in the country.
“It’s an absolute cop-out,” Patterson said. “Absolute cheap shot. It shows to me that the NRA doesn’t want to take any responsibility whatsoever.”
Patterson was reacting Friday to the National Rifle Association’s blaming of violent games as one of the culprits for mass shootings. Thousands of kids may be ripping the wrapping paper off new video games Christmas morning. The NRA though ripped the nature of the industry itself, calling it callous, corrupt and sowing violence against its own people.
It’s just like books Patterson said, or television. Something is always blamed for society’s evils, until it’s not anymore. He has made a living out of games. He’s set scoring records playing them, written about their history and culture. He said he doesn’t understand how the NRA singles out games and gamers as the problem, when it would be difficult to find anyone under 35 he said who has not played them at some point.
Patterson’s position is backed by some studies. In 2011, UT Arlington professor Mike Ward authored a study showing as gaming increased in counties across the country, crime sometimes dropped slightly. Time spent playing games, rather than getting in trouble he theorized, was a likely factor.
Ward didn’t look at the long-term effects of violent games on kids. The US Supreme Court though found no compelling evidence of its harm while striking down a California law last year, that banned the sale of violent games to minors.
The NRA actually has its own video game called NRA Gun Club. Players shoot targets, not people.
Patterson, who has children, acknowledged the content in modern games is not appropriate for everyone. That’s where value and accountability come in he said, not an indictment of an entire industry.
“It has to come back to teaching values and personal accountability for decisions. And it comes down to parents doing their jobs.”